Ryan Rolansky, the Chief Executive of LinkedIn, stated that the world of work is undergoing ‘A Great Reshuffle’. A large-scale study by LinkedIn on the recent job market transformation revealed that a significant percentage of employees are quitting their current jobs or are in search of a more rewarding workplace. Gen Z is constantly looking for meaningful opportunities where their talent and skills can be honed and developed. People are no longer solely concerned about ‘how’ they work but also about ‘why’ they work.
This sudden shift in the landscape has compelled leaders all over the world to rethink their company work culture and focus on employee experience. A recent study by Microsoft on the ‘Hybrid Paradox’ shows over 70 per cent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65 per cent are craving more in-person time with their teams. The study further reveals that over 60% of companies are planning to invest heavily in collaboration tools to enable efficient hybrid work for their teams.
In a successful hybrid workplace, trust and flexibility are the primary issues that organizations need to focus on now more than ever.
Rethinking employee experience in the era of hybrid work
In the LinkedIn study of over 500 CEOs across the US and UK, it was noted that nearly 81 per cent of leaders were changing their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility. Starting from the hiring process to fostering employee engagement, companies are adopting new practices and utilizing innovative tools to accommodate a hybrid workforce.
With a hybrid working model, companies benefit from reduced operation costs, less commute expense and better global talent hires. As exciting as it sounds, the hybrid workplace brings a different set of challenges.
Some challenges that are bound to arise in a hybrid working environment include:
- Integration of remote with the office work setup to ensure seamless workflow and create an inclusive space offering equal access to opportunities to remote employees
- Reliable and effective communication and collaboration tools
- Access to safe and secure project management and storage technology
- Training managers and employees to adapt to the new normal
- Fostering social interactions and open communication for the remote workforce
- Innovative employee reward and recognition programs, and performance appraisal methods
It is clear that choosing the right mix of tools for a hybrid workplace is critical to ensure a better employee experience and enhanced engagement.
Essential tools for a hybrid workplace
Investing in the right technology to enable maximum productivity for your employees or team is the crux of a successful hybrid workplace. There are plenty of cloud-based and online tools that are suitable for all kinds of teams and organizations – be it for communication, collaboration, project management, time management, file-sharing or video conferencing. These tools are significant in building trust, opening communication channels, and helping in cultivating a sense of belonging and accountability amongst the workforce.
Here are some of the most popular tools for a hybrid workplace to maximize productivity, foster team cohesion, and improve employee experience:
Clariti is an all-in-one platform that enables seamless work management, cloud storage, file sharing, communication and collaboration. The online application integrates all your emails, storage drives (Dropbox, Google drive etc.), facilitates one-on-one and group voice calls and messaging. With the TopicFolder feature in the app, you can also contextually segregate your team communication based on topics.
This tool is particularly suited for the hybrid workplace as you can use it for internal team and external customer and partner communication. Instead of using multiple apps with siloed information, Clariti combines information from all communication modes in a single app. This enables teams to find information quicker and see the big picture without any stress.
Trello is a simple team collaboration tool suitable for individuals and small teams. Trello allows you to list down your goals, chat and share files easily. The software allows you to keep everyone in the loop, share ideas and feedback instantly. This is especially important in the hybrid workplace where facetime is limited, and it is very easy for work to fall through the cracks.
3. Microsoft Teams and Viva
Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular communication platforms used by small and big organizations alike. The strength of the software lies in its video conferencing capabilities. The software can also integrate several additional work applications to further improve work efficiency and organize meetings just like in an open office setup.
Microsoft Viva is the newly launched tool specifically customized for a hybrid workplace. Microsoft Viva is designed to help businesses transition into the new era of remote and hybrid workspaces. With this platform which can also be integrated with Microsoft Teams, the tech giant pioneered an initiative towards holistic employee experience improvements. The platform offers an informative digital space that aims to actively engage and upskill its users with features like – news, insights, connections and learning.
Slack is a leading communication tool that is popularly used by businesses globally. It is a safe and secure tool useful to organize, communicate and collaborate for work. The software helps you organize your communication into different channels based on the topic, make video conferencing and voice calls, set tasks reminders. You can also integrate your other tools like Google Drive, Jira, Asana, Trello or Social media apps like Twitter.
Slack can also be used as socializing or ice-breaking tool in a hybrid working environment where informal conversations are scarce.
It is a high-performing project management software that allows businesses to create projects and track the progress of each project easily. It is a useful tool to organize multiple projects, assign responsibilities and simplify complex tasks. Asana also has a simple and neat interface which makes it a viable option for several businesses all over the world.
In a hybrid work environment, this software is helpful in managing projects no matter where employees are located.
The software helps employees remotely access, support, monitor and control devices, which is why it is one of the must-have tools for a hybrid workplace.
Whilst working in a hybrid environment, TeamViewer can be used to remotely provide maintenance and technical support, for employees working from home.
A unique tool that allows groups to share ideas and brainstorm virtually on a real-time basis. This project ideation tool serves as a digital canvas to creatively collaborate for a group project with a real-time voting feature. The immediate feedback helps to swiftly take an idea forward without the lag or clutter.
LucidSpark can be a handy tool for hybrid workplaces, where face-to-face brainstorming sessions with a diverse workforce is difficult. Moreover, it can foster a sense of inclusion among employees who work remotely and encourage employees to communicate their thoughts and feedback openly.
Zoom is one of the most essential tools for hybrid workplaces. Though ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a common issue in the corporate world today, the software is still one of the most used video teleconferencing tools that kept the world connected. The software is known for its simple screen-sharing features and the capacity to accommodate a large number of participants. Zoom can be used through any device and have been increasingly used for meetings, webinars and other social virtual gatherings.
Rewards and recognition are factors that contribute to improving employee experience. It is important to motivate all types of employees for the contributions they make in teamwork. Bonusly is a fun interactive platform that highlights the small and big achievements of an employee who has significantly engaged to enhance the productivity of the team. Employees can be recognized and appreciated by their colleagues. This helps employees to bond well and engage meaningfully.
Bonusly also offers different types of rewards on personalized bonus feeds, like digital cash-out rewards. Team members can also provide feedback. The interface is interactive and easy to use. Interestingly, you can also take feedback surveys and conduct a detailed analysis of the recognition trends in your company.
10. Toggl Track
Toggl Track is a time-tracking software that helps you identify where employees spend their time digitally. The application helps teams stay focused by tracking the time they spend on any mobile or computer device, apps and websites they visit. It collects time-related data and furnishes reports which can help managers analyze the work habits of their workforce for signs of idle time, overtime, digital exhaustion or burnout.
With the onset of the hybrid working era, organizations have realized that giving importance to the employee experience is key to the success of the organization. A workforce that is trained feels included and recognized by their company is bound to perform to their full potential. Leverage the right digital tools that are fit for your business and harness the full potential of your hybrid workforce. To retain talent and achieve team goals in these times, business leaders need to understand, empathize and be sensitive to the needs of the employees. Because employees, today look for a workplace where they can learn, grow and make a difference.